A Fond Farewell to A Long-Ago Friend

 

When I read the obituaries this morning,  the first thing that caught my eye was that a man was the same age as me.  Then, I recognized the name.  Steve and I had gone to high school together, and had been in drama club together.  We were school friends.  You know how that is — you get along great, and have a great time when you see each other in school, but don’t have the same interests outside of school.  So, I don’t remember seeing Steve after we graduated, except for one time. 

About five years after graduation,  I heard that Steve had been in a terrible, near-fatal car accident that left him brain-damaged.  He had graduated from college and was teaching at the time, but even though he did survive, he would never be able to teach or even live alone again.

Then, many years later, Hubby and I saw him and his parents across a crowded restaurant.  It was evident  that the Steve I had known in high school was no longer there. 

This morning’s obituary said that Steve died in a nursing home, which is, I’m sure, where he had to go once his parents were gone.  I’m sorry I didn’t know he was there, because I might have visited him.  And, if he had happened to remember me, I could have visited him occasionally.  But, that wasn’t meant to be, so I’ve decided to just do a post about the fun, witty and gentle guy I remember from high school.

In memory of my friend, Steve.

steve-meyer  

The numbers I’ve written next to Steve’s picture  are the pages on which he wrote in my yearbook — 13 to be exact.

It still makes me smile to remember that Steve was the friend who wrote along the edge of 13 pages of my senior yearbook because he swore there wasn’t another spot in the whole book where he could write.  Of course that wasn’t true, Steve just enjoyed doing something that no one else had thought of!  Original and funny, that was Steve.

Here are some snippets from his edge-of-the-pages epistle:

steve-meyer-autograph-1e  “I’m sure you’ll go far (You can’t afford to linger too long in 1 place).  Seriously, though you’re

steve-meyer-autograph-2e   really insane (She had a NERVE signing there) and you create good . . .”

steve-meyer-autograph-2ee1  (My government teacher, Miss Bower, had had the “nerve” to sign in the margin beside her picture, and “in the way” of Steve’s epistle!)

steve-meyer-autograph-3e1   . . . co- “directors of ‘Bachelor of The Year’ — I know I’ll never forget all the laughs & good times Sandi . . .”

steve-meyer-autograph-4e  “. . . great luck & all you wish is my wish to you!!  Your Friend, Steve  ’64” 

Steve and I were members of Masque and Gavel, the drama club, and when we were seniors, we were given some responsibility.  Pairs of seniors were given one-act plays to direct.  Believe it or not, clubs and organizations around the area would ask our drama department for a one-act play to be their entertainment for an event.   I like to think it was because we had a reputation for putting on quality theatrical productions — but it’s more likely that they had heard we were very entertaining because we tended not to know what we were doing!  

Anyway, in our senior year, Steve and I were teamed up and given a play named Bachelor of The Year to direct.  We had alot of fun getting the play ready (script memorized, a few props, a little make-up, etc. ) and then taking  our little one-act play “on the road” about a half dozen times. 

The performances were especially scarey/exciting for us, the directors,  because we were also, by default, the understudies for everyone!  So, if an actor didn’t show up, Steve and/or I would have to fill in!  I remember there was a dead person at one point in the play, and the character I was portraying (because of a no-show actress) was supposed to say some lines while leaning over the body.  Well, I forgot the line, so the “dead person” whispered the line to me in a stage whisper.  And then we both had to work very hard to stay in character and continue, while the audience, Steve and the other actors backstage laughed out loud!  Luckily, part of the charm of these little plays was that we pretty much flew by the seat of our pants, and our goofs were sometimes more entertaining than the actual play!

I have many fond memories of high school, but some of the most fun ones included this tall, gentle, funny guy.

I feel honored to have known you, Steve.  Rest in peace, my old friend.

22 Responses to A Fond Farewell to A Long-Ago Friend

  1. Schafner says:

    Aww man, that was deep. What a great tribute Sandra. I’m sorry that a man of that caliber had to have an accident like that.

    RIP Steve.

  2. Sandra says:

    Thank you, Schafner. I hope this post isn’t too maudlin. But, I just needed to note his passing in some way. I have great memories of him.

  3. cathy says:

    I hope someone in his family find this blog entry and are able to enjoy what others thought of Steve. Beautifully done.

  4. Sandra says:

    Cathy — funny you should say that. The obituary did list a brother, and I thought about sending a copy to him, but I couldn’t be objective enough about it to decide if it WOULD in fact make a family member feel good. I’ll think about it, now that I’ve read your comment. Thank you.

  5. Hilary says:

    Well count me in on thinking that’s a great idea. It was what I was going to suggest here too. In fact, I was also thinking that the staff at the nursing home might enjoy hearing about the man they’ve probably only known as a patient, from someone who knew him when he was full of life.

    Lovely tribute. You’re a good lifelong friend.

  6. Sandra says:

    Thank you, Hilary. It really made me very sad when I read about his death. Such a tragic life for a guy who, as you say, was so full of life when I knew him in school.

  7. Sandra says:

    Hilary — btw, your idea about the nursing home is worth thinking about too. Thanks for the suggestion.

  8. cathy says:

    I actually wanted to suggest you send the blog entry to a family member if you knew f any, but struggled with whether I should, so I didn’t. I recently sent Sam’s blog link to the widow of the man he had just done a funeral for because he had written the blog about him. She never acknowledged it, so not sure how she felt about it, but it’s only been a month – I tend to think she’ll appreciate having it to read someday…even if it’s too hard now, so I’m not sorry I sent it.

  9. Daydreaming says:

    May light perpetual shine on Steve. He had a beautiful smile as his yearbook photo shows and he is probably smiling from eternity over your fine tribute to a friend. May God bless you, always. Thanks for sharing such a touching memory.

  10. C. Beth says:

    Sandra, what an absolutely lovely tribute.

  11. Sandra says:

    Cathy — I’ve done a major re-write on this, because I see that there is going to be a grave-side service today at 2 p.m. and I’m going to take a copy of this and go. I assume his brother will be there. I re-wrote this because I wanted to maximize the memories of Steve, and make sure none of it would upset his brother — the last thing I want to do!

    Daydreaming — Thank you. I like to think of Steve in Heaven with all of his mental and physical disabilities gone. Singing in the choir and smiling his gentle smile when he sees the face of God! May God bless you too.

    Beth — Thank you. I hope you would still think that, after my re-write. 🙂

  12. Barb Fischer says:

    Sandy, Having been on the receiving end of ‘fond memories of a lost loved one’, I can tell you that it will mean a lot to the family to hear your tribute!
    Let us know how it goes.
    Barb

  13. Sandra says:

    Barb — I will let you know.

  14. Mrs4444 says:

    Sounds like the kind of guy who lit up a room. Glad you’ll be there to share a story or two.

  15. Sandra says:

    Mrs4444 — I was glad I went. Got to give his brother a copy of this post. Hope he feels good about it.

  16. cathy says:

    So glad you went and were able to give the copy to the bro. Did he seem to appreciate it? Were you able to see others there that you had gone to school with?

  17. Sandra says:

    Cathy — I have a post fermenting in the back of my head about the funeral. It was a bitter cold, windy day, in an old cemetery way out in the country. Those in attendance were, the pastor from Lutheran Home where Steve had lived, the pastor from the church he grew up in, him brother, his brother’s wife and brother’s son and daughter-in-law and a man who said he had been a student of Steve’s. And, Hubby and me. That’s it. But, it really was a joyous service because he was a Christian, and we talked about the fact that he is whole again, and has no more pain. A very touching service that we were so glad we attended.

  18. Sandra says:

    Cathy — Just realized I didn’t answer your question. Yes, I believe the brother appreciated that I had written something about Steve, but, of course, he hadn’t read it yet. He and his family seemed like such nice people, and did seem so appreciative that we came. Time well-spent.

  19. cathy says:

    Wow – one of his students and you, a fellow student. I bet his family were so glad to have both areas represented. I’ll look forward to seeing the follow up.

  20. Sandra says:

    Cathy — I really do think they appreciated us being there. I’m sure they had prepared themselves that they might be the only ones there, besides the pastors.

  21. Barb says:

    Sandy, I kept thinking of you that day…pls know that several people were probably there ‘in spirit’ and feeling that you were representing his friends from many years ago. Thank you for sharing this.

  22. Sandra says:

    Barb — I did feel a little like I was representing his long ago past. I was so glad I went. I know now I’ll meet Steve again in Heaven, and we’ll be able to laugh together again about our “directing” debut!

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